Reclamation is leading a cooperative investigation with the Nation, State and Federal agencies, and others, to study the feasibility of providing fish passage at the five large storage dams of the Yakima Project.
Bumping Lake, Kachess, Keechelus, Cle Elum, and Tieton were never equipped
with fish passage facilities.
Four of the five reservoirs were originally natural lakes and historically supported Native American fisheries for Sockeye salmon and other anadromous and resident fish.
Implementation of passage features at the dams has the potential to:
(1) increase populations of upper basin steelhead, Coho salmon, and Chinook salmon; (2) restore life history and genetic diversity of salmon; (3) reintroduce Sockeye salmon to the watershed; and, (4) reconnect isolated populations of bull trout.
In fiscal year 2004, detailed studies were done to evaluate the feasibility of providing passage at the dams.
Current feasibility-grade investigations are focusing on the engineering, operational, and biological parameters needed to provide fish passage at Cle Elum and Bumping Lake Dams.
Evaluation of passage opportunities at the other three dams will follow.
A draft planning report on Cle Elum and Bumping Lake dams was completed in 200 8. During the winter of 2004-2005 an interim wooden flume was installed on the spillway of Cle Elum Dam to test the ability of juvenile salmon to find and volitionally move out of the reservoir.
Annual reports were prepared for operational years 2005 through 2009 that summarize the interim fish passage operations at Cle Elum Dam.
The first phase of the study began in 2005-2008 by evaluating the interim fish flume as a means to successfully pass salmonid smolts out of the Cle Elum Reservoir (Reservoir).
The study results concluded that anadromous smolts could successfully find the entrance to the interim fish flume and move down the flume with a high survival rate.
Since July 1, 2008, The Nation has participated in the cooperative planning activities for the Yakima Dams Fish Passage Feasibility Study.
The second phase of the study reintroduced adult sockeye and hatchery spring Chinook into the Reservoir to allow them to spawn naturally in the reservoir (sockeye) and in the rivers flowing into the Reservoir.
This phase was initiated in 2009 and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Currently adult sockeye collected at Priest Rapids Dam are transported and released into the Reservoir.
The number of fish captured and released ranges between 1,000 – 10,000 fish.
Also Cle Elum adult hatchery spring Chinook (up to 500 fish) are released into the Reservoir.
The Nation will continue their participation in the Storage Dams Fish Passage Feasibility Study activities through this financial assistance agreement.
The Nation will work with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to continue to develop and modify a Master Plan to implement the reintroduction of anadromous fish above ther reseroirs.
The third phase of this study will continue phase two study activities, plus focus on collecting limnological data and sockeye population structure information.
Tasks will be focused on:
(1) monitoring and evaluating fish passage at Cle Elum Dam by use of the interim wooden flume located on the spillway; (2) reintroduction of adult salmon (i.e.
sockeye, spring Chinook and coho) into the reservoir and its associated monitoring and evaluation tasks; and, (3) focus on collecting limnological data and sockeye population structure information.